Smart Hand: How about an AI powered prosthetic hand?

AI driven prosthetic hand

Yes, you read it right. Isn’t it interesting when a prosthetic arm is controlled by a human brain? Obviously, it is an interesting technology.

Inventions of advanced technologies are increasing day-by-day. And undoubtedly, most of the technologies are beneficial to humans. The AI-driven prosthetic hand is such a technology that will not only be beneficial to the amputees but also makes them lead a normal life.

Let’s dive in-depth to know more about prosthetic hands.

Prosthetic Hand

In the early sixteenth century, Doctor Ambroise Paré introduced prosthetic techniques. He was one of the fathers of surgery and a pioneer in surgical medicine. He made advances in both amputation surgery and the development of prosthetic limbs. The first use of a prosthetic devices is from 950 BC.

So what are prosthetic hands ?

Prosthetic hands are devices made to help people with partial or full hand loss which resembles the function and appearance of a regular hand. These provide functionality and confidence to the amputees which makes their life easier.

Types

Passive Prosthetic Hands

Early prosthetic hands cannot take actions according to the brain signals but helps amputees in simple processes such as carrying, pushing, and pulling objects that are termed as Passive functional prosthetic hands. They are generally light in weight and made up of metal skeleton. Since it is lightweight, it doesn’t make amputees feel so heavy. However, people with missing fingers can use passive functional prosthetic devices.

passive prosthetic hand

Body-Powered Prosthetic Hands

The wearer can move the body-powered prosthetic hand by harnessing the system attached to the upper part of the body. Unlike Passive prosthetic hands, there are two actions in body-powered prosthetic hands:

vocabulary open: opens the hand when the amputee applies tension to the cable.

vocabulary close: closes the hand when the amputee applies tension to the cable.

Although the body-powered cable is helpful for amputees who lost the full or partial hand, the wearer has to put some effort to open or close the hand which is a little difficult.

Body-powered prosthetic hand

Myoelectric Prosthetic Hands

Myoelectric prosthetic hands are controlled by nerves and electric impulses from the wearer’s residual limb, unlike harnessed by the system. It resembles the natural hand/arm. Even though it fits and works well, there are some downsides to Myoelectric hand. The batteries drain off often and have to be recharged again which is one of the major downsides of the Myoelectric prosthetic hand. Also, it requires a specialist to train the wearer for a long training period. And, the price of this is very high and expensive.

Myoelectric prosthetic hand

All these different types of prosthetic hands have various advantages and disadvantages to one another. Some of them can be helpful only in pushing, pulling objects and some are in just opening and closing the fingers.

Advancement

Well, how about a prosthetic hand that can work according to the brain waves? With no doubt, it would be interesting. And, there comes AI-driven prosthetic hands. It not only gives a realistic appearance to hands but can also work as a real hand.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is playing a vital role in every industry and company. From stock market prediction to self-driving cars and drones, AI is making its footprints in all domains. (Feel free to take a look at AI on pros and cons of AI page). No wonder, that AI is enabled in the prosthetic hand.

Working of AI enabled prosthetic arm

Wearing a static prosthetic hand might make an amputee feel discomfort due to lack of movement and cannot move according to their thought process. To solve this problem, researchers developed an artificial arm that can sense the brain signals and muscles and can work accordingly. This sensory AI prosthetic hand really becomes beneficial to the amputees.

BrainCo, an award-winning company entirely changed the history of prosthetic hands. They developed the AI-powered prosthetic hand, popularly known as Dexus allows amputees to move with their minds.

The company has developed a new method of understanding electrical impulses from the brain going into the residual limb of an amputee. The prosthetic hand then detects the intention of the user and translates it to real-world movements.

Applying Machine Learning Algorithm

Dexus doesn’t require any surgical or implant operations. There are six advanced sensors that are placed inside the prosthesis, that contacts the skin at the limb to read and understand the user’s intent.

Some of the natural gestures are trained in this device. A simple new gesture requires only 10-15 minutes to train. Then AI algorithms process electrical signals delivered by muscles at the end of the remaining limb and interpret them to perform the desired movement.

Representation of AI Powered Prosthetic Hand Dexus (Source: BrainCo)

Pros of Dexus

  • Unlike other limited pre-defined gesture prosthetic hands, Dexus can be trained to perform unlimited gestures. If the amputees can think it, this prosthetic can do it
  • Light-in weight (5 lbs/2.3 kg) and comfortable
  • Finely controlled movements for picking up objects and making complex gestures.
  • Affordable cost. The price of Dexus ranges between $10,000 to $15,000 which is very low when compared to other robotic prosthetic hands

Conclusion

BrainCo’s Dexus helps amputees to improve the quality of their lives and can do more actions than ever imagined. Dexus is in the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) for its approval. Once it is approved, the company can sell the product which can help a huge number of amputees, nearly more than millions of amputees, to lead a normal life.

Leave your thoughts on AI powered prosthetic hands.

Source: Wikipedia, BrainCo website

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